Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ahmadinejad's Apology!

April Fools' Day Hoaxes in Iran

April 1, which is accompanied in the foreign media with entertaining hoaxes, corresponds with ‎the 13th day of Nowruz [the Persian calendar year that began on March 20th, 2008] celebrations, ‎the time for "Nowruz lies." ‎

To commemorate this day, Farda website dedicated an entire page to April Fools' day jokes, for ‎instance, reporting "Ahmadinejad's special request from 50 economists critical of the ‎administration." Referencing last year's meeting of 50 protesting economists with Ahmadinejad, ‎Farda writes as an April Fools' day hoax: "Dr. Ahmadinejad has officially invited 50 economists ‎to assist him in reforming economic policies, which he promised to the people in his Nowruz ‎address." Another April Fools' day joke from Farda is the "Order from the Minister of Culture to ‎reverse the ban on publications." "In two separate orders," Farda writes," Saffar Harandi asked ‎for the reversal of the ban on two newspapers Shargh and Ham-Mihan, and the news websites ‎ILNA and Baztab." ‎

Shahab News, however, chose a false report of a coup d'etat for its April Fools' day hoax. ‎According to this website, "In the house of a prominent figure opposed to the administration, ‎large amounts of heavy artillery, which were gathered to weaken the government of Dr. ‎Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were found." According to this false report from Shahab News, "In ‎addition to the discovery of large amounts of Katyusha rockets and roadside bombs, one stealth ‎jet fighter was found in the basement of the house with a message that read, 'A Gift from the ‎U.S. Government to Ahmadinejad's Opponents.' A videocassette belonging to a singer from Los ‎Angeles, one bottle of an alcoholic beverage, mixed with orange juice to fool officers, and a cell ‎phone were also discovered in the house." Shahab News continued, "Some opponents of ‎Ahmadinejad’s administration planned to use these weapons to instigate a 'media coup' against ‎the ninth administration" [a joking reference to Iran’s minister of culture's accusation against ‎critical publications]. ‎

Kambiz Ghomri also pulled a few April Fools' day hoaxes on his blog, Kasper. He wrote, "Iran's ‎president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after apologizing for past mistakes from the Iranian nation at ‎a press conference, announced that he is embarrassed and remorseful of his past actions."

Kasper also reported the return of Dariush, a popular singer from Los Angeles, to Iran, noting, ‎‎"After arriving in Iran, while crying of joy, he was greeted by the Minister of Culture, Saffar ‎Harandi." This weblog had another report: "In an unprecedented and courageous move, the ‎Islamic Republic conducted a referendum on the type of regime to govern Iran." ‎

Another entertaining hoax, which could be interpreted as a desire to start relations with the US ‎was this: "George Bush, America's controversial president, was at the center of yet another ‎controversy. Yesterday, in an unprecedented event, he flew to the city of Qom and was greeted ‎by the people of the city. After a long speech, Bush appeared at the house of ayatollah ‎Montazeri and converted to Islam." ‎

April Fools' day hoaxes were plentiful in Iranian websites and blogs as werll. Reacting to Hugo ‎Chavez's multiple trips to Iran, Farda wrote, "It has been reported that Venezuelan President ‎Hugo Chavez has announced that he is tired of traveling to Iran and will not travel to Iran any ‎more."

Though April Fools' day hoaxes are used in Western societies to "surprise the audience" and ‎‎"entertain people," in Iran they serve an additional purpose: "voicing the Iranians' dreams and ‎unattainable desires." ‎

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